Monday, August 27, 2012

Benefit They're Real! Mascara Review and Swatches

I have an HG mascara, but it is rather prohibitively expensive (though compared to Guerlain, it's a steal), and one time when I needed to reach $50 I decided to pick up a travel tube of Benefit's They're Real! to try out. Herewith, my thoughts.
image via Sephora

The brush is the first thing to mention, because it's definitely the weirdest part of the whole shebang. It's made out of flexible plastic and has little spindles instead of a traditional mascara brush, wrapping around the length as well as branching off the tip. Now, this brush may work great for some people, but I have no hand-eye coordination, due to terrible eyesight and a tremor, so I almost always poke myself in the eye in the process of applying mascara. With this brush, that hurts. A lot. It is not happy funtimes.

The formula is also a lot wetter than Eyes to Kill (or any other mascara I can recall using, for that matter), so it's easily smudged for a few minutes after application. One time I sneezed a good 3 minutes after I applied it and ended up with mad raccoon eyes. By which "mad" means "really big", not "angry", though I guess that interpretation works as well.

I usually curl my lashes after I put on mascara because I find it holds the curl a lot better, and also I am just about incapable of applying mascara to already-curled lashes (how do you get it to evenly coat them?! /I usually jab my lashes and smear it everywhere), but with They're Real! it ends up looking really clumpy and terrible unless I wait 5+ minutes after applying to try and curl. Even curling beforehand isn't foolproof, because, at least on me, it's very, very easy to overapply and end up with clumpy, spiky lashes (guaranteed to happen with 2 coats, often happens with 1 as well). I am not a fan of that––I like my lashes to look as natural as possible, but I know some people do like more dramatic lashes!
The best I've ever gotten them to look: lightly applied, let it dry for a good 5+ minutes before curling

The worst they can look (much easier to achieve than the best): slightly overapplied, curled while still a bit wet. Notice the clumping and spikiness? Blergh.

Pretty okay; this is how it ends up looking about half the time. Still too clumpy for me, but I can stand wearing it. Don't like the crunchiness, though!

So, it's not a win for me, but you may like They're Real! if you:
–don't tend to poke yourself in the eye when applying mascara
–like a more dramatic lash look as far as volume goes (this isn't great for curl)
–curl your lashes before applying mascara
–don't mind having to use a lot of eye makeup remover (my trusty oil cleanser + Purity combo isn't nearly enough for this stuff!)
–want to try a brush besides the normal kind
–need to reach $50 for free shipping on Sephora!

I can't finish this review without mentioning the ad campaign; I adore Sofia Vergara, but I do not like the ads. Lots of photoshop, and the objectification inherent in it makes me feel icky. However, They're Real! is apparently the best-selling mascara on the Sephora website, so somebody out there is loving it.

$10 for 0.14 oz, $23 for 0.30 oz (currently also a duo of both sizes for $23 is available), from Sephora and Benefit

Quality: 7.5
Effectiveness: 3 (the mascara supposedly "lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates" to give "luxurious, silky lashes that won't smudge, clump, or dry out", which is not quite what I experienced; length and volume, yes; curl, lift, and separation, not so much, and smudging and clumping is a problem for me)
Ease of Use: 2.5 (poky and jabby!)
Senses: 4.5 (formula itself did not irritate my eyes, though the same cannot be said for the brush)
Pigmentation: 5
Duration: 4.5
Consistency: 3.5 (too wet)
Price: 3 (4 if you buy the travel size, 2 for full size)
Value: 4.5 (5 if you buy the duo, 4 if you buy it solo, though for me it's really a 2 since I don't like it much)
Grade: C

Have you tried They're Real!? Did it work better for you than me? What's your favorite mascara? Least favorite?
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